Craft to head GWU men's hoops

Jul. 22, 2013 @ 04:57 PM

A former Gardner-Webb University assistant has returned to take the helm of the men's hoops program.

A week after the announced resignation of head coach Chris Holtmann, GWU announced Monday that Tim Craft will be the next head coach of the Runnin' Bulldogs.

"I am thrilled and blessed to have this opportunity at a place I truly love in Gardner-Webb University," Craft said at Monday's press conference. "We have wonderful memories of our three years in Boiling Spring and the Christian mission of the University is exciting for my family and I to support. There is history of success at Gardner-Webb and I am honored and humbled to help build upon that tradition."

Craft has spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach at East Carolina University. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach at Auburn.

From 2004-2007 Craft was an assistant at Gardner-Webb. He said Monday he will retain the current coaching staff that includes Jay McAuley, Mike Netti and Takayo Siddle along with Director of Operations Paul Hemrick.

"Tim has been blessed with a great deal of success as an assistant coach, from his time at Gardner-Webb to the highest levels of Division I basketball," said GWU President Dr. Frank Bonner. "His character, commitment to Christian higher education and enthusiasm for our university and its mission are paramount to maintaining positive momentum on campus and in the community."

Last season, East Carolina won a school-record 23 games capped with a championship game appearance in the Postseason Tournament (CIT).

During his three seasons at East Carolina, the Pirates won 56 games and won 18 games in Craft's first season.

While at Gardner-Webb as an assistant, Craft was part of a team that won the first Division I team title in 2004-05.

He will replace Holtmann, who announced his resignation last week to take an assistant coaching job at Butler University.

"Chris Holtmann has been an important mentor and close friend throughout my career, and I have tremendous respect for the success that he and his staff have worked so hard to achieve over the last three years," Craft said. "I look forward to working with the talented coaches and student-athletes already in place in the program and continuing to build on what they have begun."

Prior to coaching at Gardner-Webb, Craft spent two seasons as an assistant at Pensacola (Fla.) Junior College (PJC) under coach Paul Swanson. In 2003-04, the Pirates went 20-10 and were ranked as high as No. 13 nationally.

Craft began his coaching career as the assistant varsity coach and head junior varsity coach at Robert F. Munroe School in Quincy, Fla., in 2000-01. He was promoted to the Head Varsity Boy's Basketball Coach at Munroe the following season in 2001-02 before moving to PJC in 2002-03.

"We are excited to bring Tim back to Boiling Springs as our head coach," said Chuck Burch, GWU athletic director, in a press release. "After learning and growing during six seasons at Auburn and East Carolina he is ready for the task of leading our basketball program. The momentum gained with last season's success was thrilling, and we are confident in Tim's ability to continue that process."


Gardner-Webb sports information contributed to this report